Global concentrated solar power (CSP) market was valued at US$1.107 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.37% over the forecast period to reach a total market size of US$2.001 billion in 2025. Concentrated solar power (CSP) plants use mirrors to concentrate the sun’s energy to run conventional steam turbine or engines that generate electricity. The thermal energy concentrated in a CSP plant can be stored and used to generate electricity as per requirement, day or night. CSP technology generates electricity by focusing on sunlight. The concentrated sun’s energy is converted into high-temperature heat which is then channelled through a conventional generator. The CSP plant consists of two parts: the first one collects the solar energy and converts it into heat, and the second converts the heat energy into electricity. CSP systems are able to supply solar power on-demand through the use of thermal storage, helping to address grid integration challenges related to the variability of solar energy and enabling solar-generated heat to be stored until the electricity is needed. In addition to powering a turbine, CSP technology can also be used as heat in a variety of industrial applications such as water desalination, food processing, enhanced oil recovery, mineral processing, and chemical production.
Concentrated solar power energy is a carbon-free source of electricity and is best suited for regions and countries with strong radiation such as Australia, Southern United States, China, Southern Europe, South Africa, and the Middle East among others. As such, high focus on the renewable energy sources, especially solar, is significantly driving the demand for concentrated solar power market worldwide, thus driving the global market growth. Countries are in rush to meet their set targets regarding zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while increasing the share of renewable energy sources in the total electricity generation. For instance, Spain has a target of 120 GW of installed renewable energy capacity, primarily solar and wind, by 2030 under its national integrated energy and climate plan (NECP 2021-30). Australia’s renewable energy target (RET), a federal government policy, aims to generate minimum 33,000 GW of the total electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Canada has also the target of raising the share of zero-emitting renewable sources to 90 per cent by 2030 from approximately 80 per cent in 2016. Saudi Arabia has also set a new target of achieving 58.7 GW of clean energy by 2030. Thus, all these set targets across various countries will continue to boost the market growth of concentrated solar power during the forecast period.
Another major factor that is fuelling the demand for concentrated solar power is the rapidly growing consumption of electricity worldwide. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), global electricity consumption continues to increase faster than the global population, leading to a rise in the average amount of electricity consumed per person, or per capita electricity consumption. Nearly all of this rise in electricity consumption is attributable to growing electricity consumption in developing economies outside the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), using electricity in buildings for lightings and appliances, in industrial processes for manufacturing goods, and in transportation for powering rail and light-duty vehicles. This continuous increase in per capita electricity consumption reflects the rapid shift to more energy-intensive industries coupled with the changes in service demand, such as growing usage of air conditioners and other electric appliances. Also, in the less developed non-OECD countries, the per capita electricity growth has more than doubled between 2000 and 2017.
Supportive government policies and programs to ramp up the installation of concentrated solar power will continue to bolster the growth of this market during the next five years. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) provides funding through competitive awards to industry, universities, and national laboratories with the common goal of making large-scale dispatchable solar energy systems cost-competitive without any subsidy by 2020. MUSTEC (Market uptake of solar thermal electricity through cooperation), in the light of the EU 2030, aims to explore and propose solid solutions to overcome the barriers that hamper the arrangement of concentrating solar power (CSP) cooperation projects.
Although concentrated solar power accounts for only a fraction of the total green energy market, recent research suggests that smaller-scale design could help to revive interest in this sector. With this, there have been a rise in investments in CSP market with companies engaged in various growth strategies which will eventually spur the concentrated solar power market growth. In May 2019, Credit Suisse Energy Infrastructure Partners completed the purchase of a 49 per cent stake in 250 MW of Spanish concentrated solar power (CSP) capacity from ContourGlobal.
In December 2019, Pacific Green Technologies Inc. acquired Shanghai Engin Digital Technology Co. Ltd (ENGIN). The company is focused primarily on CSP, salt water desalination, and waste to energy technologies. The company has developed, designed, and engineered three utility scale CSP operating reference plants in China. In February 2020, Cubico Sustainable Investments (Cubico), announced the acquisition of Arenales Solar PS, S.L. the owner of a 50 MW operational CSP plant, from Pan European Infrastructure Fund. With this acquisition, the leader and global investor in renewable energy’s portfolio in Iberia now comprises eight assets across Portugal and Spain which include solar PV, CSP, and onshore wind technologies, accounting for the total capacity of 279 MW.
By type, power towers is the most popular variant
By type, the global concentrated solar power (CSP) market has been segmented into parabolic trough (PT), solar tower (ST), solar dish (SD), and fresnel reflector (FR). Solar power towers segment holds a considerable share in the global concentrated solar power (CSP) market. Solar power towers make the use of flat sun-tracking mirrors on a large field. These mirrors, called heliostats, reflect and concentrate sunlight onto a receiver on the top of a tower. Parabolic trough segment is projected to grow at a decent CAGR during the forecast period.
North America holds a significant share in the global concentrated solar power (CSP) market
By geography, the global concentrated solar power (CSP) market has been segmented into five major regional markets- North America, South America, Europe, Middle East and Africa (MEA), and Asia Pacific (APAC).
North America accounted for a substantial share in the global concentrated solar power market in 2019. Currently, approximately 1,815 MW of CSP plants are in operation in the United States. Europe also holds a noteworthy share in the global concentrated solar power (CSP) market with booming investments in Spain. Furthermore, new tariff legislation, growing need for storage, and proven plant performance have further boosted the investors’ confidence in Spanish Concentrated Solar Power ownership. Recently in February 2020, Mitsubishi Corporation entered the concentrated solar power (CSP) market with its investments in four CSP power plants in Spain, held by Spanish solar power giant, Acciona, with owning 15 per cent of its share. Asia Pacific (APAC) regional concentrated solar power market is poised to grow at a substantial compound annual growth rate between 2020 and 2025 owing to the rising investments in renewable energy sources. Rapid installation of solar energy to increase the share of renewable energy generation in countries like India and China offers lucrative opportunities for CSP market players. More recently, attention has shifted to the Middle East and North America (MENA) region, where concentrated solar power (CSP) is of interest because unlike solar photovoltaic (PV), the former can easily store thermal energy within massive tanks of molten salt for use even at night.
Impact of COVID-19 on the global concentrated solar power (CSP) market
The recent global pandemic outbreak caused due COVID-19 has affected the growth of concentrated solar power market. The demand side has negatively impacted on account of nationwide lockdowns which, in turn, has caused a turmoil in the global economic growth, resulting in declining business spending and investments in new projects. On the supply side, global supply chain disruption along with the falling productivity across manufacturing facilities due to mandatory social distancing measures has also reduced the production of concentrated solar power systems. On the demand side, solar installation have been hit hard by this pandemic with subsequent lockdown and declining business spending leading to postpone of several solar projects.
Prominent key market players in the global concentrated solar power market include Abengoa, Acciona Energía, S.A., BrightSource Energy, Inc., TORRESOL ENERGY INVESTMENTS, S.A., FRENELL GmbH, Siemens Energy, INITEC Energía, Eni S.p.A., SCHOTT North America, Inc., Pacific Green Technologies, and Aalborg CSP. These companies hold a noteworthy share in the market on account of their good brand image and product offerings. Major players in the global concentrated solar power market have been covered along with their relative competitive position and strategies. The report also mentions recent deals and investments of different market players over the last two years.